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Chris Harris: possibility Japanese market will reopen to U.S

Meat Processing Global editor Chris Harris looks at the possibility that the Japanese market will reopen to U.S. beef
December 7, 2005
Chris Harris
It looks as though the long battle for the United States to get its beef back into the Japanese market could finally be reaching the end. The forecasts are that following some heavy pressure in recent days and weeks, the ban could be lifted as early as next week.
This would then open up the Japanese market to boneless beef from cattle under the age of 20 months. However, while the move is welcome, it raises several questions. Firstly, the U.S. having been out of the Japanese market is going to have a fight on its hands to recapture old markets. While they have been away, others have made hay. Australia in particular has taken up the gauntlet and filled a need that the absences of U.S. beef had left. Australia will not give up these new customers easily.
The U.S. has also got a battle on its hands to rebuild consumer confidence in Japan. A Kyodo News survey showed that three-quarters of those questioned did not trust U.S. beef. There is a big marketing battle ahead. As the UK has found, being allowed to export beef again and actually getting it into the market to any substantial degree are two entirely different things.
Thirdly, has the U.S. sufficient supplies of the right type of beef - boneless beef from cattle under 20 months of age. Being able to source the beef that can be proven to be under 20 months of age and certified as such could prove a problem for the U.S.
From the Japanese viewpoint, the demand for cattle under 20 months of age is taking things to excess. It is generally accepted that the risk of BSE is from cattle over the age of 30 months and that signs of the disease are unlikely if not impossible to discern in such young cattle. However, the sourcing of these young cattle to a required conformation and quality is still going to be the main problem.
If the U.S. does manage to start exporting in any quantity to Japan in the New Year, then there could be another obstacle that the exporters will face. Perhaps not immediately, but possibly from March exports could rise to such a degree that the higher tariffs could be triggered and exporters would face charges of 50 percent rather than 38.5 percent. This is already a problem that is taxing the Australian beef industry.
Finally, the U.S. has always argued for science to be the main criteria for allowing its beef back onto the market. Why then does it still have a block on UK beef and beef products, when they have been declared safe worldwide? It appears that the U.S. wants to have its cake and eat it, too. It wants the world to regard its beef as safe, but refuses to accept the scientific proof that the risk from UK beef products is equally minimal - or are politics at play here?

Web site offers information on quality of drinking water
December 7, 2005
Knight Ridder Tribune
Phaedra Haywood, The Santa Fe New Mexican
Testing schedules and results for each drinking water system in the state are, according to this story, listed on a new Web site maintained by the New Mexico Environment Department. The purpose of the site is to provide detailed information about drinking water quality to consumers and other interested parties.
Drinking Water Bureau chief Fernanado Martinez, was quoted as saying, "We look at it as an essential tool for the public to know what kind of contaminants are in their drinking water."
The Web site?www.safewater. all drinking-water tests in the state for the past two years. It is updated every two weeks. The site is searchable by county and by drinking-water system. The site lists the type of population served by each system, number of wells, testing schedules, test results, violations and site visits among other data. The village of Pecos system is in San Miguel County. It is called Pecos Water System. Its number is NM3518325. A cursory visit to the site shows the Pecos Water System has six wells, but only one?the Cypress Well?is in active use.
According to the site, the Pecos system was cited for a paperwork violation?failing to produce a consumer-confidence report, which tells users about test results on the system?in 2004.
If you don¡¯t know what you are looking for, the Web site?with its alphabet soup of abbreviations and codes?can be a bit of a challenge to navigate. But if you familiarize yourself with a few basic terms?each page has a glossary function?you can learn how to monitor some of the functions of your water system.

Outbreak Information
12/08. E. coli: one case, no link
12/08. Trichinellosis, human - Russia (Altai)
12/07. 27 suffer food poisoning at labour camp
12/07. Health Department investigates illness
12/06. Health officials believe child E. coli cases linked
12/06. Paralytic shellfish poisoning - El Salvador
12/06. Fresno County health officials investigate bacteria outbreak
12/06. Raw egg warning after 40 taken ill

Job Information
12/08. QA Manager - CA-Southern
12/08. Quality Assurance Supervisor - Elwood, IN
12/08. KY-Statewide-Quality Manager
12/08. Quality Assurance Technician - King of Prussia, PA
12/08. QC Technician - CA-City of Industry
12/08. Quality Control Director - Nashville, IL
12/08. Sr. Scientist, Quality Assurance (Dairy) - Irvine, CA
12/08. Manager of Quality Assurance - MN-Minneapolis
12/07. Food Safety Specialist - Nashville, TN
12/07. Quality Specialist - OH-Cleveland
12/07. Director of Corporate Sanitation - Denver, CO
12/07. QA Formula Technician - MN-Saint Paul
12/07. QA Technician - MN-Bloomington
12/07. Sr. Quality Scientist, Seasonings/Sauces - Irvine, CA
12/07. Sr. Quality Scientist, Dairy – Quality Assurance - Irvine, CA
12/07. Sr. Food Safety Leader – Quality Assurance - Irvine, CA

Recall Information
12/09. FDA Acts to Seize Ephedra-Containing Dietary Supplements
12/08. [UK] Iceland withdraws cottage pie
12/05. Allergy Alert Issued on Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars Due to Mispackaging
12/05. [UK] Morrisons withdraws cream profiteroles
12/02. Undeclared soy protein in COAST TO COAST WINNIPEG RYE BREAD
12/01. Ground beef products sold at Andy's Valleyview IGA, ALTA, may contain E. coli 0157
12/01. Missouri Firm Recalls Meat Lunch Makers Products For Possible Listeria Contamination

USDA/FDA Information
Gulf States, Feds Report on Seafood
Nucleic Acid Based In Vitro Diagnostic Devices for Detection of Microbial Pathogens
Production Information on Post-Lethality Exposed Ready-To-Eat (RTE) Products
FSIS Makes Key Personnel Appointments
Questions and Answers on Avian Influenza ("Bird Flu") and Food Safety
BSE; minimal-risk regions and importation of commodities
Allergens -- Voluntary Labeling Statements
Guidance for Industry: Guidance for Records Access Authority Provided in Title III
Food Additives Permitted for Direct Addition to Food for Human Consumption; Vitamin D3
USDA Offers Food Safety Advice For Your Thanksgiving Meal
Prior Notice of Imported Food Under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism

General Food Safety news
12/08. Update on NI coldstore investigation
12/08. Chris Harris: possibility Japanese market will reopen to U.S
12/08. Japanese panel declares U.S. beef safe
12/08. Researchers may have answer for oyster disease
12/08. Web site offers information on quality of drinking water
12/08. Statement from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland
12/08. Options for treating person with E. coli disease
12/08. Rotten meat sparks big food scare in Germany
12/07. Preventing health risks associated with drinking unpasteuriz
12/07. Surveillance and coordination key to reducing foodborne illn
12/07. Food hygiene - future hygiene legislation
12/07. Government should warn about mercury in fish, says CSPI
12/07. Japan to lift U.S. beef import ban next week-media
12/07. Mall admits to supplying poor drinking water
12/06. Mad cow -- Japan
12/06. Backyard butcher pleads guilty to public health, meat inspec
12/06. Milk that lasts
12/06. Hurricane brought new urgency to food safety vehicle service
12/06. Bi-national food agency wants comment on proposed changes
12/06. Safe to eat? Restaurant inspections may be aired
12/06. Nashville considers banning food wagons
12/06. Outing dirty eateries: plan to display public health convict
12/06. A cockroach for dinner

Researchers may have answer for oyster disease
December 7, 2005
Knight Ridder Tribune
Patricia Smith, The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.
RALEIGH?Scientists have, according to this story, discovered an antibiotic in the American oyster that could further efforts to develop a more disease-resistant oyster.
Working collaboratively, researchers at N.C. State University¡¯s College of Veterinary Medicine and Yale University¡¯s Keck Biotechnology Resource Laboratory isolated an antimicrobial peptide they named ¡°American oyster defensin¡± (AOD).
Ed Noga, a professor of aquatic medicine at NCSU and one of the authors of the research paper published in the Dec. 30 issue of Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, was quoted as saying, "Disease is one of the biggest problems the American oyster faces, not only in North Carolina but really along the entire Atlantic Coast. ¡¦ One way we envision using this technology is to use it has a health marker."
Researchers suspect AOD, present in the oyster tissue, plays an important role in the oyster¡¯s innate immune defenses.
Noga was cited as saying that researchers have already shown that AOD fights off certain types of bacteria called Gram-positives (like streptococci and staphylococci) and Gram-negatives (like E. coli and vibrio), both of which can cause foodborne illness in humans and create problems in oyster hatcheries.